Tag: ham rally

Zwolle Radio Rally – Netherlands

On the 2nd November 2019 we completed a new amateur radio rally / convention in Zwollle in the Netherlands.

Travel was via the Hook of Holland Ferry, and the fun began right from the start. I collected Dave G7UVW and we headed up the A12 towards Harwich, leaving a lot of time for any unforeseen issues. That was rather fortunate, as the first issues was a 4 car accident on the A12, a 45 minute delay.

Once cleared we made good progress, right up until some clown decided to close the A120, the main route into the Harwich port from the A12 for roadworks. They had organised a diversion, although it soon became apparent the route was long, complicated and involved country lanes!

Not such a problem in your SUV, but try that in a 60 ft articulated lorry, what could possibly go wrong. Well it did, one of the lorries became stuck in a country lane, and the queue of lorries and cars soon backed up. Now we were stuck in a country lane, Google was trying to take us back onto the A120 (closed) and the diversion was unusable.

The only thing to do, find that Carpenters album on the music system and try and relax. Very, very stressful, and we had left lots of time and we now only had 45 minutes to make the port before boarding closed.

GPS Track from the car

It should be easy to spot on the map the point that the A120 stopped and the diversion began.

Honestly, who in their right mind would close the main route into one of the largest ports in Essex! The journey should have taken 75 minutes, but was more like 2.5 Hrs.

Relax

We made it onto the ship, and decide to head down to the bar for a well deserved beer. The crossing was an overnight sailing, getting into Holland around 8 am the next morning.

Time for a Beer

The drive from the Hook of Holland to Zwolle was completed by George M1GEO, and was around 1hr 30 (around 100 miles) and traffic was light.

The queue to gain entry

The rally was well attended, we arrived around 1030 am and needed to queue for around 15 minutes for entry. Entrance was 9 EU, and the hall was large and stalls well spaced to avoid congestion.

Makers section
View around the hall.

Lots to see, and a good selection of pre-loved equipment, and some new items. The catering on site was good, if a little expensive, I did see quite a few people well prepared with flasks and sandwiches in true radio amateur style.

The Dutch version of Raynet (DARES) had a nice vehicle on display, complete with a telescopic mast.

The return journey was back onto via the Hook of Holland and onto the ship. We had a 3 course meal book, and the standard of food online was excellent once again.

A very busy, but great fun weekend. Its always nice to catch up with radio friends and the rally is a great way to do that.

Friedrichshafen Ham Radio Rally

This was my first visit to Friedrichshafen so could be considered a beginners guide ! Friedrichshafen is located on the southern side of Germany, the local airport is Friedrichshafen. While the town has a local airport it only has limited flights from the UK so this wasn’t the route I opted for.

My route flew from Gatwick to Zurich, I then took the train to Romanshorn and then the ferry to Friedrichshafen. This route allows you to see some of the local area before you arrive, the train and ferry combined costs around £27 each way. The train takes around 1Hr, and the ferry around 45 minutes, providing you with a great opportunity to take some pictures on Lake Constance.

Ferry from Romanshorn

An alternative route is to take the train from Zurich to Friedrichshafen, this take around 2 hrs and costs around the same at £25.

The ferry and train seem to be coordinated, so the ferry leaves shortly after the train arrives (and vica versa) . Its only a short walk through the underpass to access the ferry, and the boat delivers you right into the centre of Friedrichshafen, be sure to check out the viewing platform close to the harbor entrance during your visit.

The train can be booked online, using the SBB website and the ferry here. Its possible to purchase combined tickets, and the train leaves Zurich airport every 60 minutes.

The exhibition centreThe main event is of course the rally, spread over 3 days and comprising of over 4 main halls. The halls are split into 3 main areas, projects and construction area, flea market and commercial exhibitors. The rally website contains all the information needed to plan your visit.

The rally entrance tickets are cheaper online, so ordering in advance will save you money and time. You can order you tickets by visiting the rally website, a 3 day pass is around £15. Parking is provided on site, cost is around 4 EU per vehicle. The rally can be accessed by using the free shuttle bus, details are published on the rally website and the bus usually collects from the harbour and main station.

The rally has an extensive collection of previously owned equipment (and some junk) with objects as diverse as a £4k HP spectrum analyser to electronic scales used to weigh fruit in your local supermarket.

LunchThe rally provides a great opportunity to meet radio friends from all over the world, with ample time for eating and drinking. Most of the radio societies and DX groups have stands in the main hall, and it was nice to see the RSGB working hard on their stall. We even shared (metaphorically) lunch with Steve M1ACB the RSGB General Manager and President Nick G3RWF.

With this number of halls and exhibitors it really does take days to take everything in and explore the various stalls and new products.

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One to definitely add to your bucket list, and by far the largest rally in Europe. Thanks to George M1GEO for vehicular transportation, Chris G8OCV, Dave G7UVW and Peter G0IAP for showing me the ropes and Lin (George mum) for booking my travel and flights !

Dave M0TAZ